Welcome to the first edition of The Spirit for 2023!  It has been an uplifting start to our new year as we are experiencing the most “normal” start since 2020!  Welcome to our newest members of our community the Year 7 students (the Class of 2028) and the new students in other year levels.  At our Opening College Assembly I shared this reflection

At the beginning of this new school year we consider our life journey. It is a time of new life; of recreating our dreams and setting goals but also it is a time to make space to ponder life.. commitment… personal growth… spiritual needs and balance.  It is a good time to look back with love on the person I already am… the challenges already faced… the joys given and received…to remember the events, circumstances that have formed me and to gently consider the challenges and opportunities for personal growth that lie ahead in the new year.

There have been many activities happening in the College over the holidays in preparation for our new school year.  Our amazing IT Team have prepared new laptops for the students
in Years 7 and 10 and our staff.  Classrooms in K block have been refurbished and the Sophia Centre and Auditorium floors have been resealed in accordance with our maintenance plan. The RE Staffroom has been reconfigured to accommodate offices for our Middle School Program Leader and Senior School Program Leader. Thank you to our Business Manager (Mr Grant Cole) and our hard working maintenance team for ensuring that classrooms were furnished and ready for our students on Tuesday.

New Staff

It is with excitement that I extend a warm welcome to our new members of staff:
Middle Leaders
  • Elliot McGarry – Curriculum Leader- HPE
  • Ellen Kean – Program Leader - Senior School
  • Caitlin Conway – Pastoral Leader - Year 7.
Classroom Teachers
  • Dominique Cawood – Maths, Physics
  • Annie Diamond - Maths
  • Jim Lloyd – Digital Technologies
  • Natalie McMaster - Geography, PE and Humanities
  • Niel Robertson – Science, Maths 
  • Andrew Saunders – English, Humanities
  • Kirsty Scanlan – Humanities
  • Rebecca Valmadre – English, Drama
  • Diana Pritzler – English, Humanities
  • Maree Purnell - Visual Arts 
  • Lucy Quinn – English, Humanities.
New School Officers
  • Angelia Black – Admin Assistant to the Deputy Principal
  • Harriet Black - Accounts Payable
  • Larissa Godden – Senior Administration Support
  • Katrina Laughton – Admin Officer – Teacher Services
  • Jane Tesch - Sports Assistant
  • Emma Sanelli -College Counsellor/Psychologist (replacing Kathy James while she is enjoying long service leave during Semester 1).
The following staff have resigned over the holidays
  • Emily Fraser 
  • Fleur Kelly
  • Nicola Martin.
Welcome back to Jo Desailly who was enjoying long service leave during Term 4. Welcome back also to Brenda Quigley who is completing a short term contract to assist us at the start of the year.

Congratulations to the following staff who have been appointed to Middle Leader roles for 2023:
  • Alison Larkings: Program Leader - Middle School
  • Russell Cooper: Curriculum Leader – Humanities and Business.
I was incredibly proud of the results of the Class of 2022.  Next Tuesday morning we will be hosting the Principals’ Honours Assembly to recognise and congratulate our graduating students on their fabulous achievements.

As we look forward to all that 2023 has to offer, Week 2 will be buzzing with activities including the Year 12 Information Evening and our Opening Eucharist.  I look forward to seeing everyone at the various events throughout the term.

In Faith and Love

Sharon Volp

Upcoming Events - Save the Date!
2023 College Leadership Team

Let me begin by welcoming everyone back to the College for the start of the new school year. I'd like to extend a special welcome to  new families and staff who have joined us this year. It's been wonderful to begin the school year normally. Co-curricular music and sport have begun, with CaSSSA sport beginning next weekend.

We look forward to gathering as a community next Tuesday to celebrate our 2022 Honours students and recognise the overall exceptional achievements of our 2022 graduates.

We are also beginning to plan excursions, camps, and retreats. Permission for these is obtained via our Parent Portal. It is important that you update your contact information and your child's medical conditions when you log in. If you are having difficulty using the Parent Portal, please contact our IT Helpdesk at: itsupport@mss.qld.edu.au or phone: 3858 4999.

We are looking forward to the various events that the College and the P&F will be organising this term to further connect with our families. 

Let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:18

Lord, help us to live the virtue of generosity, to love without limits.” Pope Francis


And so, another new year begins! To our continuing families, a warm welcome back to our College. And to those joining us for the first time, welcome to the MSM family. I hope that your daughter finds a happy home here in our community.
Each year, all communities within Mary Aikenhead Ministries choose to focus on one of the core values gifted to us by the Sisters of Charity. In 2023, our focus will be on love. Taking inspiration from the words of Pope Francis, our College theme will be Love without Limits. Our College Captains and Mission captains will break open this theme throughout the year.
Last week, as staff gathered to begin the new academic year, we reflected on what love looks like in practice, and how it manifests in our classrooms, in our homes and in our dealings with each other. We take our inspiration from the example of Christ, who loved without limit or condition. Jesus loved even when it was painful to do so. He loved despite reputational risk.

We all must consider how we can bring love into our daily practice. Love means respecting and honouring the innate dignity of others, whether we like them or not. Love means gently calling people to account when they harm or let us down. Love means being honest about the impact our words and actions have on others. It’s not easy, but it is important.
Perhaps the best words about love are the simple ones from Jean Valjean in Les Misérables: “to love another person is to see the face of God.”


CAN Groups for 2023

Our Community Action Network comprises 5 wonderful service groups who continue the work of the Sisters of Charity in our broader community. At MSM, we have:
  • The Environment Group (for students interested in eco-Justice issues)
  • Sisters Empowering Sisters (for students interested in women’s justice issues)
  • Social Justice Council (for students interested in human rights)
  • Missions of St Vincent (attached to our local St Vincent de Paul conference, serving the needy in our local community)
  • Interact (attached to our local Rotary Club, serving the local community)
All students are most welcome to join a CAN group (or two). They meet fortnightly at lunchtimes in I16. This year, CAN groups will begin in Week 3. Our Mission Captains will share more information with students over the coming weeks.
Term 4 Fundraising Projects

Thanks and congratulations to our Interact and Missions of St Vincent’s students for their efforts in coordinating our Term 4 fundraising projects. 

Interact has raised more than $1,000 in support of Beddown, a local charity providing safe sleeping spaces and essential services in under-utilised public buildings. Interact will continue to support Beddown in 2023.

The Missions of St Vincent’s students have done a wonderful job in coordinating this year’s Vinnies Christmas Appeal for the Ashgrove and The Gap Conferences, collecting a tremendous number of toiletries, pantry and Christmas items for needy families in our area. At a time when requests for support are at an all-time high, both Conference Presidents have expressed their profound gratitude to MSM for their ongoing support of this important program. 


Mt St Michael’s College – A Positive School with Visible Wellbeing.

A very warm welcome back to the 2023 school year. I was elated to finally have a real ‘first day’ at Mt St Michael’s and the beaming faces of our wonderful girls did not disappoint. Our senior students set the tone with exemplary behaviour and genuine enthusiasm for the year to come. Despite nerves and trepidation, our Year 7 students embraced the challenge and made a successful start to their high school journey. Our student wellbeing goal for the foreseeable future is to make Mt St Michael’s College not only a school with a brilliant Positive Education program, but a Positive School with Visible Wellbeing. Positive psychology is at the core of long-term wellbeing, successful engagement in life and more immediately, enabling our students to reach their academic potential. Investing in positive education for our students as individuals is the essential foundation for creating a positive school where we contribute to our community for collective wellbeing and flourishing. I am passionate about working in partnership with our staff, students, and families to make Mt St Michael’s the gold standard for what a Positive School can be in a time when individual and collective wellbeing is so important. I look forward to engaging with families in the future to bring this goal to fruition in positive partnership.

Uniform Reminders

On balance, our students are wearing their uniform with pride. Just a reminder that tote bags are to be used in addition to a college bag or on campus, not as a school bag itself. If students have any additional piercings to one in each ear lobe, if a ‘clear’ or ‘plastic’ is worn and is still visible, they will be asked to remove it.

In this, the first newsletter for the year, I would like to welcome all students back to the College and extend a warm welcome to our new Year 7 students as well as the new students who have commenced with us in 2023.

Principal's Honours Assembly
Next Tuesday, we will be hosting the 2022 Principal’s Honours Assembly, where we will be celebrating with the 42 graduates of 2022 who attained an ATAR of 95.00 or higher. These achievements will be formally acknowledged by the College at the Honours Assembly, and the graduates will be invited to sign the Mt St Michael’s College Honour Roll. We cannot wait to celebrate the achievements of these accomplished young women.
Year 12 Information Evening
We look forward to welcoming parents, carers and students to the upcoming Year 12 Information Evening on Tuesday 31 January. The evening will commence at 6pm in the Sophia Centre.  This evening will be addressing curriculum and pastoral matters pertaining specifically to Year 12 students.
This evening will give parents and carers the opportunity to meet with our new Program Leader - Senior School, Mrs Ellen Kean, as well as the Pastoral Leader - Year 12, Mrs Paula Brydon. Please note, students are not required to wear their college uniform to this event. Parents, carers and students are all encouraged to attend.

Year 11 Information Evening
The College will then be hosting a Year 11 Information Evening on Tuesday 7 February. The information evening will address the intricacies of the QCE system and is an excellent opportunity for students and families to gain an understanding about what to expect across the senior years. The presenters will identify the academic and pastoral support structures that are in place to foster the best possible outcomes for our senior students. There will also be the chance for students and families to interact with the presenters and ask questions throughout the evening using the Q & A function.
Assessment Calendars

Semester One Assessment Calendars for students will be available in the coming weeks. These calendars provide an overview of all assessment for the semester and it is very important that your daughter uses this document to organise her time and resources to ensure all assessment tasks are completed to the best of her ability.
Subject Changes 

Any student in Year 8 – 10 who needs to change an elective subject will have to submit their completed change of subject form to the relevant program leader by Friday 10 February. Subject changes need to be done in consultation with the subject teachers, Curriculum Leaders, and Program Leader. Sometimes it is not possible to accommodate changes due to subject clashes.

If your daughter would like to discuss a possible change, she will need to make an interview time with either Ms Larkings for students in Years 8 and 9 or Mrs Kean for students in Year 10. Students in Year 11 have a little more flexibility and are encouraged to speak with Mrs Kean if they are experiencing difficulty in their Unit 1 subjects.
Year 7 Students First Day at MSM

We were thrilled to welcome our newest members of our College community on Tuesday morning. Our Year 7 students were greeted by our senior leaders and staff before visiting their homeroom. They were warmly introduced at our Welcome Assembly with our Year 12 cohort forming a traditional guard of honour.

The cohort enjoyed many activities during the day and were reunited with their parents in the Sophia Centre at the conclusion of the day for their laptop induction.

Meet our New Middle Leaders
Elliot McGarry 
Curriculum Leader - HPE

My name is Elliot McGarry and I am excited to lead the Health and Physical Education team here at Mt St Michael’s. I have been involved in girls’ education since 2010 and have taught Health and Physical Education at both St Rita’s College and Brisbane Girls Grammar School. I am passionate about providing each student with a rich educational experience and I look forward to supporting students to flourish as healthy, safe, and active citizens in the 21st century.

Ellen Kean 
Program Leader - Senior School

I feel very privileged to be joining such a wonderful school in the role of Program Leader – Senior Schooling.  Whilst I grew up in Brisbane, I have spent the last 16 years in Gladstone in Central Queensland where I worked as Head of English at Toolooa State High School. I was incredibly fortunate to spend the last two years travelling across Australia and overseas.

Moving cities, jobs, and education systems at the same time has certainly been an interesting experience but I already know that I have made the right decision. I look forward to working with staff, students, parents, and care-givers to provide quality educational outcomes for every student. Education really is a team effort and I’ve joined a winning team!

Thank you for welcoming me so warmly into the MSM community!


Caitlin Conway 
Pastoral Leader - Year 7

I was born in Brisbane and obtained my first teaching position at a Catholic secondary school in Mount Isa. I was in Mount Isa for five years as a Pastoral Leader then moved to England to teach and travel. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before COVID hit, and I was trapped inside teaching online. I stayed in England for two years in a Pastoral position and managed to see ten countries. When my visa ran out, I moved back home to Brisbane to be closer to friends and family where I obtained a curriculum position at St Laurence’s College. Here I realised my passion and calling was in the Pastoral field and was over the moon when I was offered the Year 7 Pastoral Leader position at MSM.
‘Fide Et Amore,’ a motto that not only rang true to me when I attended the college but one that I base my teaching philosophy and life on to this day. I pride myself on possessing and instilling a love of learning and a passion for life, one which was developed and fostered during my time at MSM. I am very much looking forward to working with the students and families within Year 7 and the College.


MSM College Community Groups
 P&F Meetings: Please check the Mt St Michael's College Facebook page and App for meeting update notifications.
Alumni Meetings: Please visit the MSM Alumni Association Facebook page for updates.
Why not get involved in 2023?

Our P&F Association are seeking interest for the role of Social Media Coordinator to help spread the message about upcoming events and activities or other key information beneficial to our parent community.

Volunteering in this sub-committee role doesn’t take up more than a few hours a month of your time. It’s a great way to meet people and be part of a growing social community.
Visit our Parents and Friends Association page on our website for more information or Click Here to download a nomination form.

We would love to hear from you!
2023 P&F Events Schedule

Term 1
P&F Meeting Monday 6 February 6pm
P&F Year 7 Parent Welcome to MSM Friday 24 February 6pm
P&F Meeting Monday 6 March 6pm
Term 2
P&F Year 8 & 9 Parents Social Evening Friday 28 April
P&F Meeting Monday 8 May 6pm
P&F Year 10 Parents Social Evening Friday 10 May
P&F Golf Day Friday 26 May
P&F Meeting Monday 5 June 6pm
Term 3
P&F Meeting Monday 7 August 6pm
P&F Mothers Lunch
P&F Meeting Monday 4 September 6pm
Term 4
P&F AGM & Meeting Monday 6 November 6pm
2023 Term Dates
Term 1
Tuesday 24 January – Friday 31 March
Term 2
Monday 17 April – Friday 16 June 
Term 3
Monday 10 July – Friday 15 September 
Term 4
Tuesday 3 October – Friday 24 November (Years 7-11)
Help Support the MSM Environment Group

Support the MSM Environment Group by donating your eligible containers! Bring your containers to school or use our scheme ID when returning to your local depot. Your donations will go towards funding our current and future environmental initiatives.

Mt St Michael's College scheme ID: C10333591
Now available on the College APP!
Mt St Michael’s College is pleased to bring to you the MSM Business Directory. Accessed through our website and APP, this online portal, profiles businesses and provides opportunities to connect with the wider MSM community to promote your services, sales and special offers. 

Many business owners profiled in the MSM Business Directory are long-term friends of the College. They include current and past parents, local businesses and alumni who, together show a commitment to Mt St Michael’s College and support for MSM events, fundraisers and initiatives. 

If you would like to be included in the online MSM Business Directory, simply email msmnews@msm.qld.edu.au

For more information please click here
Slow down!

The Brisbane City Council, in coordination with The Gap Ward Office, recently erected an additional 40 km/h school zone limit and traffic signs facing incoming traffic along Elimatta Drive and Aloomba Road following a request from Mt St Michael’s College to investigate the traffic management in the school vicinity. A safety project endorsed by Mt St Michael’s College’s Work Health and Safety (WHS) Committee.
Parents are reminded, for the safety of everyone, to DROP students off in the LOADING ZONE area outside the Ionian Centre and avoid areas marked with yellow lines which is against road safety rules. This is dangerous as it blocks other driver’s visibility and obstructs cars from moving around.
Onsite parking in the College grounds; Grantuly, undercover in the Ionian Centre and within the campus near the Sophia Centre is only permitted for staff. In consideration of our neighbours, please refrain from parking across driveways, adhere to the 40 km speed limit and be considerate of those living around the College when dropping and picking up students. Please do not drop off or pick up students within the College grounds.

In consideration for our neighbours, where possible please avoid leaving your motor running, especially when parked outside a home.
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